Every once in a while, the day opens its gaping maw and tries to swallow you whole.
Every once in a while, both kids wake up two hours before dawn and cannot be coaxed back to sleep.
And they spend the morning bickering, screaming, and returning every effort at engagement or conciliation with a vengeance.
And pulling the orange juice out of the fridge to make a smoothie knocks a lid-askew jar of salsa onto the floor. And the toddler wants to help clean up with a patented finger painting technique.
And the eldest child responds to every question, request, or statement with a surliness worthy of a teenager forced to get up at 6am on a Saturday.
And you leave for school without lunches or water. And return, cheerfully, but find that the cat has vomited in front of the fridge.
And the toddler doesn’t want to walk or be carried or ride to school. He wants to lie down and watch traffic. From the edge of the curb.
And your phone didn’t charge the night before.
And the landlord wants to raise your rent and talk about it right as you’re dropping off the eldest and convincing the youngest that he can’t stay on the playground after the bell rings.
And your resident Cynic and Critic and Brain Voice come visiting with a slew of arguments against your worth as a human being.
And it’s right, at least, about your clothes not fitting any more.
And the toddler falls several times, reacts apoplectically to every situation, but refuses to nap.
And screams himself into a rage because you a)need a shower, b)dare to take one, and c)protect him from climbing into the sink for his favorite soap squirting project by bringing the stepstool into the shower with you.
And the walk to lure him into the stroller (and a default nap) fails because he refuses, REFUSES to get in but instead, every time you say “walk, please, or sit”, he gleefully sits on the ground.
And so your compromise of stoller-nap and exercise is shot to hell.
And your eldest greets you at pickup with a sour puss and a demand for variously outrageous things.
And the toddler and his brother spend the afternoon screaming “no” at every suggestion or game or dance party or knife-throwing contest you offer.
And they both want to help with dinner but spill so much on the floor you banish them from the kitchen, against your principles and heart’s best intentions.
And you realize you’ve become your mother.
And the toddler drags the stepstool over to the counter where you’re using 1)a kitchen knife, 2)a cheese grater, and 3) boiling water.
And you cry.
And he knocks down a bottle of soy sauce.
And runs into the living room and pees on the rug.
And you serve dinner that everyone refuses to eat.
And bath lasts 20 seconds because they’re both crying that they’re hungry.
And the knock at the door is a college student selling a cause you believe in but whose website you will now hack and occupy in righteous anger.
And there’s no yogurt in the house. And the toddler throws the container of hummus against the wall with the grandparents’ pictures.
And you sit patiently as they both take over an hour to fall asleep.
And your favorite show is not on. No reason except, presumably, that the networks have been listening to your resident Cynic and Critic and Brain Voice, and, as a result quite reasonably hate you.
Now, I’m not saying I’ve had one of these days. I’m just saying they happen. Once in a while.